Students looking to enrich their education and get ahead in classes over the summer now have that opportunity in the Sequoia Union High School District — but classes come with a fee.
The board of trustees recently agreed to allow the district to charge students looking to take credits in addition to their required courses.
School board President Olivia Martinez said trustees didn’t want to limit learning to those who needed it most.
“We need to worry as much about the kids excelling as those who are struggling,” she said.
Courses are starting this summer. According to district spokeswoman Bettylu Smith, digital photography and food and nutrition are being offered to students wishing to enroll.
Smith said enrollment only just began and therefore it is hard to gauge the demand and number of students that will sign up for the available classes.
Cost per class was unavailable because of the recent inception of the program.
Martinez said in the past, funding has prevented the district from allowing students to take enrichment courses to get ahead, but charging a fee is a way to open it to all students.
“The budget situation continues to deteriorate,” she said. “There are less and less electives and more requirements, and even those are in jeopardy. We are only refunded for students required to take summer school and graduate on time, offering fee-based classes will not take away from that.”
Districts throughout the Peninsula have had to tighten the purse strings on summer school. Sequoia administrators have previously said they intend to continue with limited enrollment in summer school.
In previous years, as many as 2,600 students have been able to enroll, but because of budget cuts, the district has limited it to 1,800 students on only one campus.
Sequoia serves 8,700 students at five high school campuses.
If this year goes well, Martinez said, the district could expand and allow students to take courses such as geometry and advanced-placement preparation classes.
“We’ll see how this year goes,” she said. “We may get a lot of students or we may decide this is not what the community is after.”
The Sequoia Union High School District will charge students for summer school classes they are not required to take.
2,600: Previous summer school enrollment
1,800: Current limit of summer school enrollment
8,700: Students in district
5: High schools in district
Source: Sequoia Union High School District